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Deputies Shoot, Kill Lunging Canine

Posted: March 4, 2008 8:32 a.m.
Updated: May 5, 2008 5:01 a.m.
 
Deputies investigating a domestic dispute in Val Verde shot and killed a dog after the animal broke loose from its restraint and lunged at them, an official said Monday.

It was the third deputy-involved shooting in the Santa Clarita Valley since Feb. 22.

"I am outraged," said Robert Cullen, who owned the German shepherd. "I do not know what to say. I am at a loss for words."

"They were forced to act," said Lt. Brenda Cambra of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. "It's sad it had to happen. Yet when a dog attacks a deputy, sometimes quick decisions have to be made."

Cambra said the shooting Friday occurred after deputies responded to Cullen's Val Verde residence to investigate a report of domestic battery. When they arrived at the home, Cullen's roommate, John Ryan, was requested to control the young dog, which was barking excessively.

Ryan said he would tie the dog to a tree outside, and deputies went inside the home and continued their investigation. Cambra said the dog was barking and howling during the entire investigation.

When investigators stepped outside, the shepherd lunged forward and broke free from the leash tying it to the tree. The detective closest to the dog when it broke free, believing the animal was about to attack, fired upon it.

Ryan, 49, was arrested for domestic battery. After he was escorted to and placed in the sheriff's vehicle, Ryan kicked the rear window from the inside. Cambra said. He was then arrested for vandalism, a higher charge than domestic battery. He was held on $20,000 bail and will face his arraignment today.

Following an investigation after the shooting, the detective who fired at the dog will still be able to continue his duties.

Since Feb. 22, deputies have been involved in three separate shootings in the SCV. On Feb. 22, deputies fired upon a vehicle as a suspect fled the scene of a fight in a Canyon Country parking lot. Six days later, deputies fired at one of three vandalism suspects, also in Canyon Country. No one was injured in the two previous shootings.

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